Date
15 November 2018
Panda Visa, through its app-based platform, aims to help users submit travel visa applications without them having to go to embassies or consulates in person. Photo: Panda Visa
Panda Visa, through its app-based platform, aims to help users submit travel visa applications without them having to go to embassies or consulates in person. Photo: Panda Visa

Panda Visa raises US$8.7 mln in series B funding

Panda Visa, a Chinese firm that helps users complete travel visa application procedures through a mobile application, is said to have raised 60 million yuan (US$8.7 million) in a Series B funding round.

According to Chinese tech news site 36kr, the latest funding was led by Shenzhen Bohuiyuan Venture Capital, with Yuanchuang Capital among the investors.

With the startup’s visa application feature, users can apply for travel visas by submitting to the platform their self-portrait photo taken by the smartphone’s camera, along with the photos of their passport and ID card.

After an online photo ID verification procedure, the mobile app-based platform uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to capture detailed images of documents, turning the information in those images into text, and automatically helps the users complete the visa application form.

Panda Visa also provides users updates on the visa application progress with its tracking feature. Once the application succeeds and a visa is issued, the platform can arrange a courier to deliver the issued visa document directly to the user.

The one-stop visa provider aims to help users submit applications without having to go to embassies or consulates in person. It claims that over 400,000 visa application cases have been successfully processed via the platform, and that it achieved 99 percent success rate for visa applications via the platform.

According to Chinese media, Panda Visa is assisting in applications for visas to 84 countries, including the US, the UK, and Japan.

Panda Visa told 36kr that it plans to use the fresh capital to expand the “smart visa application” service, by actively communicating with the embassies of various countries.

The aim is to serve as a one-stop visa service provider covering the whole process from information collection from applicants to the visa accreditation and issuance.

The startup has partnered with Chinese tech giants like Tencent (00700.HK), Xiaomi (01810.HK), Didi Chuxing, and JD.com, offering visa services to their employees.

According to its website, it receives from each user 800 yuan (US$117) on average and expects to achieve revenue of over 100 million yuan (US$14 million) this year.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept 4

Translation by Ben Ng

[Chinese version 中文版]

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BN/RC

Hong Kong Economic Journal

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